DiscoverBig Fish in the Middle Kingdom#008 - Acting in China, Los Angeles & London | Matthew Knowles
#008 - Acting in China, Los Angeles & London | Matthew Knowles

#008 - Acting in China, Los Angeles & London | Matthew Knowles

Update: 2017-07-07
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My guest this week is American actor Matthew Knowles. Matthew's story is pretty incredible: he played football at Clemson and had a real shot at playing professionally, but had his NFL dreams crushed along with his knee during his senior year. A humble guy, he decided to take a break and help others while he healed himself, and he ended up teaching English in Guizhou Province in rural China. He mastered Mandarin, was discovered singing Chinese karaoke by a talent agent in a bar, and was launched on his path to becoming a TV star and film actor in China. Along the way, he became the first non-Asian to study acting at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, which is essentially the Harvard of filmmaking in China, only more selective. 
 
Cut to 2017: having made a significant name for himself in China, Matthew has relocated to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and master stage acting. Meanwhile, he looks forward to the 2018 release of Asura, a giant Chinese $100M USD fantasy movie that provided him with what looks to be his breakout role, starring as Rawa, a heroic demigod battling evil. The film looks awesome and will hopefully cross borders and bridge cultures in much the same way that Matthew himself has been doing in his work and in his life. Enjoy!
 
One quick reminder that we are still a featured show on the Castbox.fm website and the Castbox podcast app! Castbox works in your web browser and they also have an iOS app, but they have an especially nice app for Android devices. Please check us out on Castbox, and SUBSCRIBE to the show wherever you listen to us. Thanks!
 
Matthew Knowles:
 
"BFMK" Website:
 
Brendan Davis on Twitter:
@VeritasInLux
 
Castbox:
 
"Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom" on Apple Podcasts:
 
on Castbox:
 
Carl King (composer):
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#041 - Disney, Beijing Film Academy, & Magic Dumpling | Kevin Geiger
This week’s guest is Kevin Geiger. Kevin is a founding partner of creative development company Magic Dumpling. Kevin has a pioneering, lifelong background in animation and VR, working on and off at Disney for many years both in Burbank and China, as well as building two versions of Magic Dumpling between Disney stints. He also owns a children’s book company called Peewee Frog that is doing some really cool stuff.  Among all the great points that Kevin makes based on his extensive experience and perspective working here is the main, macro one - namely, that China IS changing, but that it won't change for YOU. We also discuss the point that you can’t view China and attempt to solve any challenges you may be having in dealing with or understanding it through an outside lens, especially a western one. To interact successfully and satisfyingly here, you have to gain some real local perspective and develop an alternate set of instincts that are relevant for this reality as it is, not what you imagine it to be. Lots of food for thought in this episode, and many good words to heed before diving into anything over here.  But it's not all serious; in fact, it's mostly a fast, fun and (hopefully) funny talk, and I hope you enjoy it. Links to check out all of Kevin's very cool enterprises are in the show notes; if you're a China-curious creative, this episode is especially a don't-miss.  Before we get into the interview I want to take a minute and tell you about our sponsor, Stackry. Stackryis the global leader in international parcel forwarding from the US to anywhere in the world. The way it works is that you shop at any US retailer, have your packages shipped to your Stackry address, and once everything has arrived, Stackry consolidates your stuff and ships it to you anywhere in the world, even China, saving you up to 80% of the shipping costs versus shipping things directly from the store. Stackry provides free storage, same day consolidation of your packages, and a tax-free US address for you to use. I have an update on my own Stackry story: I see from the Stackry website that I’ve had one big batch of items delivered to their warehouse in New Hampshire, and I have one last order on it’s way to them. As soon as everything arrives, Stackry will do their packing consolidation magic and get everything moving towards me here in Beijing. I’ll update you as my Stackry story continues, and it’s really easy to use their site and get yours started, too. Sign up TODAY via the link below, and use the offer code BIGFISH at the checkout to save 10% off your first shipment.  Enjoy! Please SUBSCRIBE to “Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom” at: Apple Podcasts / iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/big-fish-in-the-middle-kingdom/id1237037187?mt=2 Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=174877&refid=stpr SPONSOR: Stackry “Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom” sign-up link: http://bit.ly/BigFish2018 Use the offer code BIGFISH at the checkout, and save 10% off your first shipment! GUEST: Kevin Geiger links: Personal website - www.kevingeiger.com Linkedin profile - www.linkedin.com/in/kevingeiger Magic Dumpling's website - www.magicdumpling.com Peewee Frog's website - www.peeweefrog.com VR/AR/animation blog - https://www.awn.com/blogs/reality-bites HOST / SHOW:  please LIKE “Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom” on Facebook:  Brendan Davis on WeChat: BrendanDavis  Brendan Davis on Twitter: @VeritasInLux  Other links to LISTEN: https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/podcast-links/
#040 - Big in China | Alan Paul
This week's guest is Alan Paul. Alan is a former Guitar World and Wall Street Journal writer from the US who somehow became a notable Beijing-based blues musician. Alan wrote a memoir called Big in China about his crazy musical experiences here, and tells the story of how it all began - thanks to a broken guitar, a Chinese repairman who was also a secret musical wizard, and their shared love of Stevie Ray Vaughn. And in a strangely related note, Alan also has a huge connection to legendary Southern rock group the Allman Brothers Band. From writing about and interviewing them over a 25 year period, Alan became an insider in their world, and he talks a lot about his best-selling Allmans book One Way Out. The story of how it came to be, in part, because of Allmans drummer Butch Trucks’ discovery of and respect for Alan’s China book is pretty awesome. Great talk. "Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom" is sponsored by STACKRY. Stackry is the global leader in international parcel forwarding from the US to anywhere in the world. The way it works is that you shop at any US retailer, have your packages shipped to your Stackry address, and once everything has arrived, Stackry consolidates your stuff and ships it to you anywhere in the world, even China, saving you up to 80% of the shipping costs versus shipping things directly from the store. Stackry provides free storage, same day consolidation of your packages, and a tax-free US address for you to use. Sign up TODAY via the link below, and use the offer code BIGFISH at the checkout to save 10% off your first shipment. Lastly, the "Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom" Facebook group has really been growing lately, and the show is now also available on the Stitcher platform! Apple Podcasts and iTunes downloads and subscriptions are still as important as ever, but I’d also really like to have a nice showing on Stitcher our first few weeks if possible, so please check out the Facebook group, SUBSCRIBE in Apple Podcasts and/or Stitcher if you want to help the show find new fans, and thanks in advance!   SUBSCRIBE to “Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom” at:  Apple Podcasts / iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/big-fish-in-the-middle-kingdom/id1237037187?mt=2 Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=174877&refid=stpr   SPONSOR:  Stackry “Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom” sign-up link: http://bit.ly/BigFish2018  Use the offer code BIGFISH at the checkout, and save 10% off your first shipment!   GUEST:  Alan Paul LINKS:  www.facebook.com/alanpaulauthor  www.alanpaul.net/blog  One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band  Big in China audio book: http://amzn.to/2FaeKcm  Big in China Band  Friends of the Brothers band   HOST / SHOW:  please LIKE “Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom” on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BigFishMiddleKingdom/  Brendan Davis on WeChat: BrendanDavis  Brendan Davis on Twitter: @VeritasInLux  Other links to LISTEN: https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/podcast-links/
#039 - China Business Secrets, Space Programs, & UFOs | Peter Levenda
This week’s show, and show notes, are both longer than usual - but with very good reason! Hang on, it’s going to be a fun and occasionally wild ride...   My guest today, for the first show in the Year of the Dog, is none other than internationally esteemed writer and lecturer Peter Levenda. Mr. Levenda has a truly massive and very influential body of work, including his groundbreaking China business book “The Mao of Business”, and he is considered to be something of a legend in certain circles. For roughly 40 years, Levenda has taken a very rational, scientific and historical approach to researching topics that are most commonly viewed through a conspiracy theory lens, and he’s won the respect of mainstream scientists, academics, and fans around the world as a result.    Lately, Levenda is most well-known for his work with former rockstar @TomDeLonge of Blink182 and his “To The Stars” initiative, which is responsible for facilitating the recent high-level US Government disclosures regarding the UFO phenomenon, as reported on the front page of The New York Times and other newspapers around the world. This is an outgrowth of Levenda's earlier work writing extensively on post-WW2 issues related to the fate of various bad guys who escaped Germany and their subsequent roles in the founding of the US space program and other intrigues. But what’s most relevant to OUR show today is Levenda’s passionate interest in and pioneering role doing international trade with China, beginning in 1984.   Among other topics, we discuss: his early studies doing translations of Chinese alchemical texts as he earned his Master’s degree, and their relationship to Cabalistic material; his 34+ year career working with and traveling in China, and his impressions of how the country has grown and evolved as he has met and worked with people from all walks of life here; the disconnect between the “virtual China” that most outsiders conceive of versus the reality of the place; China’s sense of itself and how approaching it with a colonial, antagonistic attitude is a recipe for disaster; how China’s own space program will likely distinguish itself in the near future; the broader power dynamics at play in the East versus the West and what a smart China strategy should consider; and much more. We also cover the “To The Stars” project somewhat as well as other random tangents that pop up here and there, so it’s a relative buffet of Levenda goodness.    This one gets very philosophical yet is extremely practical too. Peter is not only learned, he is also dryly funny and we had a wonderful chat. With all due respect to my other guests, I have to say that this is possibly my favorite episode of the show so far, so I really hope you’ll give it a listen and that you enjoy it if you do!   Also - we have a NEW, international sponsor this week! Stackry is the global leader in international parcel forwarding from the US to anywhere in the world.  The way it works is that you shop at any US retailer, have your packages shipped to your Stackry address, and once everything has arrived, Stackry consolidates your stuff and ships it to you anywhere in the world, even China, saving you up to 80% of the shipping costs versus shipping things directly from the store. Stackry provides free storage, same day consolidation of your packages, and a tax-free US address for you to use. I’m building my very first Stackry shipment from the US to China right now; it’s really easy to use their site and get started. Sign up TODAY via the link below, and use the offer code BIGFISH at the checkout to save 10% off your first shipment.    Alright! This is a giant intro, but it’s a pretty epic show. All the links are also available on the blog page at crazyinagoodway.com. Now, please enjoy my interview with Peter Levenda.   SPONSOR: Stackry “Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom” sign-up link: http://bit.ly/BigFish2018 Use the offer code BIGFISH at the checkout, and save 10% off your first shipment!   GUEST: Peter Levenda website: http://peterlevenda.com |  Peter Levenda on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Levenda/100012276609499 |  Peter Levenda on Twitter: @Peter_Levenda   “To The Stars” website: https://coi.tothestarsacademy.com The New York times article referenced in the show:  "Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program"  https://nyti.ms/2kB62aH   HOST / SHOW: Brendan Davis on WeChat: BrendanDavis |  Brendan Davis on Twitter: @VeritasInLux |  Other links to LISTEN: https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/podcast-links/
#032 - True Run Media  | Mike Wester
My guest this week is Mike Wester, co-founder of True Run Media, which publishes The Beijinger, Jing Kids, and more. In the episode we talk about Mike's journey from the Boston area to Taiwan, back to the US for grad school, and then his ultimate move to Beijing, a city he's called home for 17 years. Mike and his team have built quite a publishing presence in China, and his thoughtful insights on society reflect a deep passion for quality journalism and the people it impacts - i.e., all of us. In this episode I also discuss my upcoming special New Year’s show, an appearance I’ll be making on CGTN soon talking about film in China, the podcast’s holiday fundraising drive, and much more. Full details are in the show intro and all the links are available in the show notes below or via the blog post at https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/home/2017/12/27/mike-wester so check it out. Enjoy!   Mike Wester contact: mwinchina   True Run Media brands: thebeijinger.com beijing-kids.com jingkids.com QR codes for all Official Accounts available in blog post @ crazyinagoodway.com   AWA Health(mention the show and get a 20% discount): 4th Floor, THE PLACE mall Guanhua Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing China 137-1618-2745 (Chinese) 186-0083-9624 (English) QR code available in blog post @ crazyinagoodway.com   Holiday FUNDRAISING Drive - SUPPORT BFMK via PayPal or WeChat: https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/donate/   Brendan Davis on WeChat: BrendanDavis   Brendan Davis on Twitter: @VeritasInLux   BFMK website: https://www.crazyinagoodway.com    Other links to LISTEN: https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/podcast-links/
#031 - Writing & Reporting in Beijing, China  | Kyle Mullin
This week’s guest is Kyle Mullin. Kyle is a Canadian journalist who works as a writer and editor at The Beijinger. In the episode we discuss Kyle’s environmentally-conscious focus, which he first discovered as a writer in college. This passion set him on a path that ended up at The Beijinger, where he writes a regular "Beicology” column (Beijing + Ecology) in addition to his food & beverage, music, and other social interests. This is my longest episode ever, but it moves fast and we cover a lot of ground; I loved going even more in-depth with this one and hope to do more like this in the future. Kyle and I discuss writing, our mutual affection for Marc Maron's WTF podcast, plus we do a special year-end look back at some of the big China stories of 2017, and much more.     This is also Week 2 of my monthlong Holiday Fundraising Drive for the podcast! If you’d like to materially support the show and make an expat podcaster smile for Christmas, please visit crazyinagoodway.com and visit the SUPPORT page, linked below, to spread a little holiday cheer and show your love.     This episode is sponsored by AWA Health. Whether you’re interested in relieving stress or soothing your lungs and body from being exposed to pollution, AWA Health offers great services to help you deal with the realities of living in the big city. AWA Health is offering a special Holiday VIP package combining an anti-stress flotation therapy session + an anti-pollution halotherapy session in the salt room for only 860RMB. This is normally a 1076 RMB value, so you save over 200 RMB. Book with Angelique directly via the QR code linked below, and tell her you're a "Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom" listener when you do!     Kyle Mullin articles and interview links: http://www.thebeijinger.com/category/blog-tags/beicology   http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/the-odds-and-evens-of-the-sun-shining-in-beijing-arent-good/   http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/12/being-a-proletariat-during-beijings-airpocalypse-china-smog-class-inequality/   https://thediplomat.com/2017/06/can-china-live-up-to-its-climate-fighting-promise/   https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2013/06/ai-weiwei.html   https://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2017/12/02/brendan-davis-big-fish-middle-kingdom-podcast     AWA Health (mention the show and get a 20% discount): 4th Floor, THE PLACE mall Guanhua Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing China 137-1618-2745 (Chinese) 186-0083-9624 (English) QR code available in blog post @ crazyinagoodway.com   Holiday FUNDRAISING Drive - SUPPORT BFMK via PayPal or WeChat: https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/donate/   Brendan Davis on WeChat: BrendanDavis     Brendan Davis on Twitter: @VeritasInLux     BFMK website: https://www.crazyinagoodway.com      Other links to LISTEN: https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/podcast-links/      
#030 - Health & Wellness in China | Angelique Peng
My guest this week is Angelique Peng. Angelique is from Singapore, has studied in London, lived in Los Angeles, and she’s now an entrepreneur in Beijing. She is a partner in AWA Health, and yes, they are a sponsor of the show, but this is not an informercial! In the episode we talk about Angelique’s highly interesting background, her mission with the company, how their sponsorship of the show came to be, and much more. I also give a little shoutout to my long-time friend and certified creative genius, Carl King, who created the music in Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom, and his new show “The Oracle of Outer Space”, as well as the holiday fundraising drive for this very podcast. Links to everything are in the show notes or can be found as always on my website, crazyinagoodway.com. Enjoy!   Angelique Peng article:http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/Cgg7g0wP9TYCPdflr8inYw   AWA Health(mention the show and get a 20% discount):4th Floor, THE PLACE mall Guanhua Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing China 137-1618-2745 (Chinese) 186-0083-9624 (English) QR code available in blog post @ crazyinagoodway.com   Carl King’s “The Oracle of Outer Space!"https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/carlking/the-oracle-of-outer-space-animated-tv-show-pilot?ref=discovery&term=Oracle%20of%20outer%20space%20 https://www.facebook.com/oracleofouterspace/ http://carlkingdom.com   SUPPORT BFMK via PayPal or WeChat:https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/donate/   Brendan Davis on WeChat:BrendanDavis   Brendan Davis on Twitter:@VeritasInLux   BFMK website:https://www.crazyinagoodway.com    Other links to LISTEN:https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/podcast-links/
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#008 - Acting in China, Los Angeles & London | Matthew Knowles

#008 - Acting in China, Los Angeles & London | Matthew Knowles